5 Classic Pāpale Styles for the Indecisive Buyer

If you're not sure what style pāpale to look for when shopping, it's easy to feel daunted at first. With so many styles to choose from, how can you know where to begin ? And when you're preparing to invest in an heirloom, how can you know you'll be happy with your purchase 10, 20, or even 50 years from now ?

I put together this short list for anyone looking for a classic and timeless -- yet adjustable -- style. Some pāpale must be woven into their intended shape -- such as top hat or cup-and-saucer. But each of these styles can be woven on the same ipu (hat block) and therefore adjusted as necessary, ensuring that even as sensibilities change, the weaving will still be appreciated.

1. Kona hat

This might be the most classic of all pāpale lauhala. Originating in, you guessed it, Kona, the Kona Hat harkens to the coffeeland of Hōlualoa and the slopes of Nāpo'opo'o. It's hard to go wrong with a Kona hat -- it'll take you from the māla to the stadium of Merrie Monarch and beyond.

2. Fedora

For better or for worse, almost everyone knows what a fedora looks like. A lauhala fedora, however, often has a crispness that allows it to exist outside of more recent stereotypes. I especially recommend a clean point at center front, and a slightly longer-than-usual brim, either turned up in the back or pressed totally flat. Three inches is usually enough to make this style a lot more flexible than you might think.

3. Western

Somewhere between Fedora and Paniolo/Cowboy lies the Western. This shape has a little bit of an adventurous vibe without being too "safari". Pairs well with a flannel button down and boots just as well as a sundress or aloha shirt.

4. Nalu

The English word for Nalu is "wave". If you take a good look at the top of this pāpale, you should be able to see why. With a single crease curving from front to back, the resulting ridge looks a lot like a wave curling towards the shore. It's an easy style that's a little less common to see. From the front, the appearance is smooth, clean, and understated.

5. Ku'uipo/sweetheart

If you add another nalu going in the opposite direction, you end up with a Ku'uipo style pāpale. This style is pretty rare, because it's a little tricky to get it just right -- but the result is so.... sweet ! I think it's a little more stereotypically feminine, but anyone can rock it with confidence and the right accessories.

If you buy a pāpale like one of these, rest assured that the style will still be relevant as years go by. And even if you change your mind, you'll still be able to change your pāpale too.

What do you think ? Do you have one of these styles, and if so, how do you like it so far ? Are there any others that didn't make the list ? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below !

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